Thursday, April 12, 2012


Washington Island, Wisconsin -

A smile, a pleasant greeting and an upbeat air are considered wonderful traits when you are face-to-face with customers on a daily basis.

No one did this better than Jason Carr.
However, Jason Carr was sentenced today on three felony counts in Door County Circuit Court by Judge Peter Diltz.

Carr pled guilty to three charges of felony theft and in so doing, waved his right to a jury trial.  Carr had earlier paid restitution to the Ferry Line in the amount of $28,000.   As a part of his sentencing, he will spend 30 days in the County Jail, pay a $500 fine plus court costs on each of the counts (numbered 39 in all) and will carry the felonies as a record.  The remaining 36 counts, Class A forgeries, have each been dropped, but they will remain on record as per the plea bargain with the State, as represented by District Attorney Raymond Pelrine.

This is unpleasant business for all concerned.

A complaint against Carr was filed August 25, 2011, following several months' investigation.  The investigation was triggered by Carr's own private conversations in which he admitted theft as a ticket seller over a several-year period.  Until late June of 2011, he had been not only a trusted ticket seller for the Ferry Line, but he was extremely well thought of by fellow employees and customers alike.  It was with concern for Carr as an individual, as well as for the significance of the crimes he had allegedly committed, that charges were brought forward through Sheriff's Department to the Door County District Attorney's office.

During his sentencing, Judge Diltz took time to personally address Carr, stressing not only the seriousness of his crimes, but also the breach of trust with the Island community that had supported him.  Diltz read into the court record the following letter from the Washington Island Ferry Line, Inc., signed by Richard and Hoyt Purinton, company managers and owners.

Because of the nature of the ongoing investigation and then proceedings over the past months, it was not possible, nor was it considered prudent, to publicize Carr's alleged actions.  However, with sentencing now completed, to not inform the public and our customers about this unfortunate turn of events also seems improper.

March 12, 2012

Door County Circuit Court
Judge Peter Diltz
c/o  District Attorney Pelrine

Letter to Jason Carr:
Washington Island Ferry Line appreciates your timely restitution for money stolen while you worked for Washington Island Ferry Line as a ticket seller.  We know the penalties under law in sentencing by the Court are not insignificant. 

However, because of your accepted plea agreement, you haven’t had to respond to questions concerning your crimes in court, and for that reason the public has learned little information about your crimes.

You told an investigating officer that you had been stealing for “five or six years.”  If that was the case, then the total stolen by you as an employee is five or six times the amount you’ve returned in restitution.   Apparently, you resumed work each spring during those years with intent to continue stealing money.  You shielded your stealing from others, even as you repeated your crimes, year to year.

Then, shortly after you were officially investigated for stealing, you expressed to several Washington Island friends in conversation, and to others through your Facebook page, words that indicated you were proud of your undetected theft. 

As your former Ferry Line managers, we think your breach of trust is as damaging as the money that was stolen.  Many people – your co-workers, the ferry customers, island neighbors and others – knew and respected you as a pleasant-mannered, smiling employee, often the first island person they came in contact with upon arrival at the ferry dock.  What they didn’t know – and we didn’t realize – was that the money paid to you by them you then put into your own pocket. 

By doing so, repeatedly, you’ve broken a bond of trust among co-workers and customers, and friends.  How will you now turn that around?  How will you help others to understand that you recognize what you did was wrong?   How will you go about regaining trust from a community that has supported you in many ways? 

You now have an opportunity to begin mending the trust that was broken, by an honest statement to the court, by showing the community in which you live that you are sincere in your acknowledgement of what you’ve done, and that you’re determined to restore our trust in you.


Hoyt and Richard Purinton, for
Washington Island Ferry Line, Inc.

-  End -


Robert Herbst said...

Oh no! This is terrible news. I can imagine that the rate increases of the past few years may not have been needed if it weren't for this theft.

People weigh and consider the costs of visiting the island and the Ferry trip is among those things considered. His theft, I'm certain, has been far costlier to the community than the $28k of one year. It has probably affected anyone on the island whose livelihood depends on tourism.

The entire island has been a victim of this crime and not just the Ferry Line. A sad day.

Captain Sparks said...

This is much more than a monetary loss.... the serenity of personal solitude an island precipitates has been scared.
Similar to a failed explorers quest to resurrect a bond lost to tyranny between a father and son.... Tomorrows light will lead us all towards resolution.

Zuzka said...

This is very sad, especially for our community. I love this community and one of the reason is the trust to people living here...I hope this is only one exception and we won't be hearing more stories like this.
I'm sorry for the Ferry Line loss too and all the troubles they had to go through.